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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tent Cities, Rolex Watches, Apathy... Ignorance?

I have not been watching much of the news lately and it wasn't until last night that I became aware of the tent cities in California.

Tent cities are springing up in California as thousands of people hit hard by foreclosures and big job losses say they have nowhere else to go.
A friend called me and we were talking about our own tough times. I was crying to her about this and that when she reminded me that there are people so much worse off than I. Then she told me about the tent cities. My heart just broke.

Where will all this end? So many people losing everything. So many people just trying to find a way to hang on. And then I see stuff like this item about Miss Lohan (doesn't she live in California), on a shopping spree. She can spend $50k on watches? Her money, but has SHE heard about the tent cities? How much food or water or toiletries would $50k buy for the people living in the tent cities?

But I can't just point at the celebrities. There are businesspeople, other artists, etc, who have vast amounts of money - and who live right there in California. Don't they see the problems? And, yes, I know it's not just California - the financial pain is being felt everywhere - but the state that is such a symbol of fame and wealth... That's just sad.

Here's the thing. The friend who was telling me about the tent city in the first place is just an ordinary woman. She is single and doing okay financially. She was thinking of taking a vacation to California in a couple of months. When she realized what was going on with the tent cities, she came up with the idea of spending her vacation handing out food and water and (she's an animal lover) pet food. She thinks that maybe she can buy some diapers and toiletries, some second hand cookware and give it to these people. She thinks that she would not enjoy a regular vacation when she could be doing something to help those hurting people.

Okay, so if SHE can think about how to help - she, who is not anywhere near wealthy by any means - why can't some of those people who get to live in such luxury?

Maybe I'm missing something. Maybe there are wealthy people trying to help. Maybe. I don't know. Haven't heard about that, but I will try to find some examples.

Remember Mr. Diddy - from my post yesterday? Well, when he was on Ellen's show, he talked about how he likes to Twitter out "positive messages" of encouragement to his followers. Okay. He says he has over 100,000 followers on Twitter. Maybe he could send out a message about taking some positive action and helping those less fortunate. Just think, if Mr. Diddy asked each of his followers to donate at least one dollar to help the poor, that would be some serious help for those in the tent cities. Look where they could help.

I don't know. It all depresses me. It depresses me that I missed the story. It depresses me that people who didn't miss the story aren't speaking up more. It depresses me that there has to be a story. The California mess is just one of many that I am sure is happening all across the country.

Anyway, I am going to be thankful for my own blessings. I'm down about as far as I ever thought I would get, but I'm not living in a tent city. Yet.

I don't have money to give, but I can and will try to remember those people in my prayers. I will pray as much for their minds as for their bodies because I know that one of the "side effects" of a financial crisis is depression. When you get depressed, you lose a lot of the energy it takes to pull yourself back up & believe that you can help yourself.